Today the Washington Post has a front page (below the fold) story on Chuck Hagel’s possible Presidential ambitions (Hagel Ponders White House Run As War Criticism Raises His Profile – Wash. Post – 1/26/07). The story notes that Hagel has become a pariah in the Republican Party and garners about 1% in GOP primary polling. It then talks about a possibility of taking a “creative path” towards the Presidency:
“Hagel joked during the interview about teaming up with New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a moderate Republican, and also floated the possibility of joining a bipartisan unity ticket with a Democrat — with his name first, of course.”
We’re not so sure this “joking” won’t take on a life of its own. But it would really take a hurricane like change in American politics for a third party candidacy to have a realistic shot — though hurricanes, both meteorological and politically (see New Orleans and Minnesota) do happen.
In any case, our general view here on Leavenworth Street, as noted in a response to a comment yesterday, is that Hagel is not taking his anti-war position in order to fuel his run for the Presidency; he’s fueling his Presidency run so that he can keep the spotlight on the one true issue for which he has passion – the war in Iraq. (And see this Wall St. Journal Op-Ed by former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan giving Hagel kudos for his anti-shoe salesman views.)
There’s no doubt that Hagel’s Vietnam experience has shaped his views on Iraq, and we find it very difficult to say that he is simply grandstanding. Now that’s not to say that he doesn’t like all the attention he’s getting (show me a single pol who wouldn’t like it). But if Hagel were simply to keep a Presidential pulpit in order to speak about the war, and in the end get clobbered in the voting booth, he’d still be happy.